After some weeks of speculation, Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York State, has announced that the US Open will be played in September in Queens but without fans. The announcement marks the most definitive step yet in the return to competitive professional tennis, with the regular season having been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic ahead of the Sunshine Double in March. But it is expected that the tournament will be held under straightened circumstances.
In his tweet giving the tournament the green light, Cuomo noted that the USTA will be taking ‘extraordinary measures’ to ensure the safety of all those involved and the population of New York. It is likely that players will be limited in their support staff, with the USTA having proposed a limit of one team member per competitor. However, several players, including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep, have voiced reservations about playing in such conditions.
It is also likely that there will be no qualifying draw and a much smaller than usual doubles draw. But there will also be a Masters tournament held prior to the Grand Slam event, in place of the Western and Southern Open, usually held in Cincinnati. This is intended to give players a chance to get some competitive match practice in the run-up to the US Open, without the need for them to travel across the United States.
All ATP and WTA competition remains suspended until the end of July. It remains to be seen whether either tour will announce a resumption before the US Open is due to begin in August, but several players have expressed a desire to make their return to action on the European clay, rather than the hard courts of North America. A concern also remains over the French Open, which was moved to the 24th of September by the French Tennis Federation in March.
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